On Monday, June 10, 2013, voters at the Wrentham Annual Town Meeting in the King Philip High School Auditorium, will be asked to amend the Zoning Bylaws to include a definition for agricultural accessory uses.
Family farming these days is economically challenging, even while it is becoming increasingly evident that locally accessible food and a shortened food chain are valuable assets for the health of our citizens and our local economies. Since the community has expressed its strong support for open space preservation and rural character and since Wrentham has few farms, it is in our best interest to preserve what we have. New England geography limits farm size, so farmers are turning toward additional revenue generating activities on their farms to maintain their viability.
This article has been placed on the town meeting warrant by a citizen petition. The article amends the town’s zoning bylaw to clarify accessory or additional activities on actively farmed land that are permitted by right. The term “by right” means that a land owner may use his land in certain ways without seeking approval from the Planning Board. Our bylaws allow such primary activities as living in one’s home, gardening in the back yard, or holding a picnic with friends. The additional activities on farms that are listed in this amendment are tours, dinners, weddings, and musical performances on the farm.
These listed accessory uses are only allowed on land whose primary use is agriculture. Our town zoning bylaw defines agricultural uses to include farms, nurseries, orchards, and the subsequent sales from those uses. Once land qualifies under one of these use descriptions, it would then be allowed the listed accessory uses. These uses have been generally accepted in Massachusetts. This amendment simply enumerates them in our local zoning bylaw.
The farmer must scale his accessory uses to be appropriate to the premises and the surrounding residential area and provide off-street parking for his patrons. He would need to obtain appropriate Board of Health permits and coordinate with the public safety officials to determine if a police detail is needed.
The purpose of this zoning amendment is to enable the Town to further support its limited farming community by clearly enumerating acceptable, accessory activities on its few farms.
-Leo and Marj Immonen